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Open Source Java Application Servers
Geronimo, an open source Java application server under the Apache umbrella, has come a long way
By: Maria Winslow
Dec. 9, 2005 02:15 AM
Activity around open source projects related to Java is building. You probably already know about JBoss, an open source Java application server, but there are other options as well. Geronimo, an open source Java application server under the Apache umbrella, has come a long way towards becoming a potential replacement for proprietary servers like IBM's WebSphere. IBM even employs a majority of the committers on Geronimo, an indication that they see the writing on the wall. And the high status of being a part of the Apache Software Foundation can't be overlooked.
But why do we need open source Java application servers? For all the same reasons we need other open source software: reduction in licensing costs, of course, but also control.
For Jeff Genender, a committer on the Geronimo project and Open Source Practice Leader with Virtuas, open source means more control in corporate deployments. "People need a choice to be able to have a high quality app server to run their business without the need to pay for high licensing fees. It also allows companies to get patches in rapidly instead of being told to wait until the next release. I think this is compelling for people who bet their businesses on a fairly complex product. It gives them a sense of control over the product. The nice thing here is, your support question can be handled by hundreds of people, rather than a few engineers. You will always get an answer with open source, and at the worst case, you have the tools to fix it yourself."
But what if open source software doesn't give you 100% of what you need? Having to customize the software can actually be a benefit. According to Will Peratino of WorkforceConnections (an open source-related project of the US Department of Labor), "open source software doesn't have to be perfectly complete to serve your organization well. If you can find an application that provides 85% of what you need, but it's free, then you can spend the money you would have spent on licensing on customization instead. The end result can be better than proprietary software because the customization makes it a better fit for the organization."
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